Pro-life teacher Bill Diss, who had the audacity to tell Planned Parenthood that they were not allowed in his classroom and was fired by his school district as a result, has filed a lawsuit against the school district.
Planned Parenthood went after the career and livelihood of a distinguished, highly-qualified, good high school teacher, and now he’s fighting back with a lawsuit. The school board for the Portland Public School District voted to terminate Diss’ contract after Planned Parenthood’s lobbying effort.
Diss experienced censure in his teaching career beginning in 2007 when he publicly opposed the building of a new Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in downtown Portland. Then he opposed being forced to facilitate presenters from the Teen Outreach Program (TOP), a program administered by Planned Parenthood, coming into his tutorial session to recruit students.
The Portland Oregonian reports that Diss filed a $390,000 lawsuit Wednesday against Portland Public Schools claiming he was wrongly booted from the district.
According to his 38-page suit, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court:
Diss’ troubles with the district began in February 2007 when he actively began to protest plans for a Planned Parenthood headquarters in Northeast Portland. Media started calling the school asking for Diss, and he was interviewed by TV and radio reporters, according to the suit.
“As the attention mounted, the plaintiff was summoned for questioning by Benson High School administrators,” reads the suit. “He was interrogated about his activities by the principal and by an attorney for the District. The activities in question occurred on his own time, not at school, nonetheless he was specifically instructed not to mention the fact that he was a teacher or where he worked when making public statements.”
Schools spokeswoman Christine Miles said Thursday that “the school district believes the allegations he has brought up in a legal matter do not have merit, and we will continue through the process to prove that.”
Although Miles didn’t elaborate beyond that, in a letter from the district, which Diss provided to The Oregonian in 2013, the district stated that Diss had shown “unprofessional, intimidating and/or harassing behavior.” In a 2013 story on OregonLive.com, Diss conceded that he talked about Planned Parenthood and his religious beliefs in class, but he didn’t stop students from expressing their own views.
On Sept. 17, 2012, employees from Planned Parenthood Columbia-Willamette showed up to his tutorial class to talk to students about their sexual activities and methods of contraception, according to the suit.
“This knowledge surprised (Diss) and caused him serious emotional distress,” reads the suit. He later learned that Planned Parenthood would continue to visit his classroom throughout the rest of the school year — and he would have to continue to “facilitate their interactions with students,” the suit states.
His request to be excused from those presentations was denied by school administration, according to the suit.
Diss grew more concerned when he saw Planned Parenthood offer students food and gift certificates to attend its optional Teen Outreach Program — and promise students up to $30 cash to complete a survey on their sexual activities, the suit states. The program focuses on preventing teen pregnancy and improving academic success, according to Planned Parenthood’s website.
People he knew in the Vietnamese community also told him that promotional material written in Vietnamese and passed out by Planned Parenthood wrongly stated that Diss supported the organization’s Teen Outreach Program, the suit states.
In 2012, Diss was quoted in an Oregonian news story saying he’d been suspended for a day in October 2012 for refusing to let the Teen Outreach Program presenters into his classroom.
“Because (Diss) expressed his opposition to the activities of Planned Parenthood at Benson High School, he became a target of” the administration, the suit reads. “They launched a full-scale assault on the plaintiff as a teacher. He was observed and evaluated on the most minute aspects of his teaching.”
Previously, Life Legal Defense Foundation filed an employment discrimination complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of Diss.
“LLDF stands with Mr. Diss and intends to pursue every appropriate legal measure in his support,” states Dana Cody, LLDF’s President and Executive Director.
Cody told LifeNews: “While this is only the beginning, we trust that Mr. Diss will ultimately be vindicated, and that future, well-qualified teachers will not be subjected to discipline and termination from employment for their religious and moral beliefs.”
“Diss has taught Technology, Math, Computers and Electronics at Benson High School since 2002. He also taught several classes at the community college level and is highly regarded in his profession by both by students, parents, and fellow teachers. Mr. Diss is the only teacher in the state of Oregon who has been certified to teach college level computer science to high school students for dual credit,” she said. “His initiative and hard work have attracted outside grants to Benson High School, opening up even greater opportunities for students. For the first five years at Benson, Mr. Diss was rated as proficient or better, with numerous positive compliments in his reviews. Mr. Diss’ methodology and teaching style has remained substantially the same in all his years of teaching.”